Surround Yourself with Character Builders

Written By: Kekeletso Dhliwayo
Social Commentator/Human Rights Activist/ Writer/ Columnist
The Black Phoenix Diaries

1 Corinthians 15:33 reads, do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” It was written years and years ago, but here we are forgetting good and sound advise from the holy book. Led astray by an inner circle which fails to keep us on the straight and narrow – don’t be a genie in a bottle.

There is a lesson in every life circumstance, even the ones that are far and removed from us. Nkandla, need I say more? The problem here as President Jacob Zuma said is that he was ill advised, by his ministers, But what are we taking from this?

What we should take from this is that, we ought to surround ourselves with people who not only advise us properly, but we should surround ourselves with people who challenge us to do and be better people. These people that we call friends should not only desire the best for us but they should also be holding us accountable for behaviour that is questionable, not wondering what they can take from our ill advised actions.

You see, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe on Friday said that when one person in the organisation does wrong, it reflects badly on the organisation as a whole, but my personal opinion is that that was just a speech used for PR – if the ANC really believed that, Nkandla would not have been built to begin with. Someone within the halls of the ruling party would have asked Number One, some uncomfortable questions so much so that the scandal would not have gained such momentum. The problem with Jacob Zuma is that he is surrounded by likeminded people who do not question questionable behaviour, who seek to appease him so as to avoid falling out of favour with their “friend.”

We see this even in everyday living, when one is surrounded by people who do not expect them to be better people, who expect that life will keep them right where we want them, without an improvement on their standing in life, making their minds the perfect fodder for manipulation.  I have seen many people waste their lives with people who did not challenge them, who did not contribute to them becoming better people, instead they were part of their stagnant lives, and because these people were never questioning the bad behaviour we misunderstood their manipulation of our minds for love and acceptance, then people say, “I love Lucky as a friend, he accepted me as a friend even at my worst.” The true means test should be, when you were at your worst, what did Lucky do to help you elevate in life? Did you find that you were constantly in the same life predicaments even though your “trusted friend” was always there? We should not allow ourselves to be the moulding clay for someone else’s manipulative ways, only so they can keep us down with them.

We should be careful of the friends who are only appreciative of our friendship when it is convenient for them… surround yourself with people who challenge you holistically, those that challenge your mind on every level, even your morals because ultimately you are who you surround yourself with, make sure you are someone great. Friendships can sometimes make or break a person. If Pule Mabe can quote scripture, let me do the same, if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off – the same should be said of people who do not add positivity. Do not allow yourself to be someone else’s genie in a bottle, making all their dreams come true while you are stuck at the same station waiting for them to rub the lamp just so you can be their rescuer in their time of need.

Perhaps Jacob should question why he is always finding himself in the midst of debate and ridicule, history will not remember him for being his friends sacrificial lamb, but instead he will go down as the one who sold the country to the highest bidder – do not allow yourself to be that guy – surround yourself with greatness, for greatness will never entertain feeble minds that are content with life that has no progress.

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